Anne Tooley, 83, of Second Street, Tupper Lake, a longtime local educator who taught thousands of Tupper Lake's second, third, and fourth graders in a career that spanned 35 years, died on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, where she was taken at the end of a brief illness.
Born Anna Marie Ellis on Oct. 20, 1930, she was the proud Irish/French Canadian daughter of Sunmount employees Gordon and Gertrude (Mayotte) Ellis, who raised Anne and her younger sisters and brother in modest homes on Second Street and Mountain View Avenue. A member of Tupper Lake High School's Class of 1948, Anne Marie, as she was known in her youth, was an athlete and cheerleader who made friends easily and celebrated vigorously, traits that both defined her life and lifted those around her.
In 1951, she earned her degree from Cortland State Teachers College, abandoning her original plans to be a PE teacher when she learned that summer courses in elementary education would allow her to graduate early and start helping her family sooner. She joined the teaching staff in her hometown that fall, still just 20, starting in second grade before moving quickly to third and then fourth, where she spent most of her career teaching reading, American history, and long division to as many as 35 to 40 nine- and 10-year-olds each year. In the 1960s, and '70s she also taught local adult education classes, and in later years she took great joy when former students of all ages returned to visit or stopped her in the street to thank her for her impact on their lives.
Shortly into her career, Anne, as she was known by then, began dating Lorne Tooley, a high school history teacher from Ogdensburg who came to work in Tupper Lake in 1944 (when as a student teacher he took over a class that included then-eighth-grader Anne). They married in 1953 and started a family that would eventually include four sons. Along the way, she and Lorne gave each of their sons a deep love of learning and the incredible experience of traveling to historic sites and scenic points around the country, dozens of trips that helped shape each boy in positive ways that are still evident today.
Anne retired from teaching in 1985, sad to leave her teaching colleagues, many of whom she mentored, but anxious to embark on the retirement that she and Lorne had always dreamed about: traveling throughout the south each winter by motor home. They spent several years visiting spots in Florida and elsewhere before ultimately leaving the road and settling in Lady Lake, where they wintered together for eight years and where she remained on her own each winter until 2007, when a tornado ripped her home apart around her and she was immediately ready to go back north for good.
Returning to Tupper Lake, her lifelong home, held special appeal. She played golf for years at Tupper Lake Country Club, where she enjoyed the Wednesday ladies twilight league and Friday night dinners at the clubhouse. And she was a longtime member of the local Dutch Treat Bridge Club, where her sharp card play made her a welcome partner at every table.
Late in life, she missed her cherished wintertime friends in Lady Lake and her special, lifelong friends among the ladies of the 1970s Lions Club District 20-W leadership team. She also held a very special place in her heart for the true joys of her later years, her longtime Tuesday bridge group and her even longer-time Friday bridge group. She grew to consider all of these wonderful ladies to be extended family.
She is survived by her loving sons: Stephen (Barbara Stoddard) of Cary, North Carolina, James (Margaret Gaudet) of Plattsburgh, Timothy (Suzanne LaVigne) of Apex, North Carolina and Shawn of Durham, North Carolina; five grandchildren: Erin, Shannon and Katherine Tooley and Elyse and Colin Tooley; her sister, Mary (Jon) Storms of Carthage; her brother Gordon (Louise Martin) of Oneonta; nine nieces and nephews; and her brothers-in-law: Ronald Tooley of Ogdensburg and Gerald Tooley of Kinnelon, New Jersey.
Anne loved her family deeply and felt great loss when she was predeceased by her father in 1968, her sister Noreen (Louis Lorenzetti) of Seneca Falls in 1996, her mother in 1998, and, in 1999, her beloved husband of 46 years.
Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12 at the Stuart-Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Tupper Lake. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13 at the funeral home. The family will then welcome all in attendance to gather at the VFW Club on Park Street for an appropriate celebration of Annes zest for life.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages anyone wishing to make a donation in their mothers memory to consider the local meals on wheels program, the rescue squad, or The Wild Center. Online condolences may be made at www.stuartfortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.